Visa fees for international students and backpackers will be waived in Australia
Visa fees for international students and backpackers will be waived in Australia

CANBERRA – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Wednesday that the government would waive visa fees for overseas students and backpackers to help with the employment shortage, which is being exacerbated by an increase of Covid-19 cases across the country.

International students arriving in Australia in the next eight weeks and backpackers arriving in the next 12 weeks are among them. "And there are around 1,50,000 students with visas who we are encouraging to return for the start of their university or college year," Morrison said in Canberra.

"But we also want them to come here and be able to help cover some of these key workforce shortages," he said, referring to those who work and are trained in health care, aged care, and similar fields.

According to health department estimates from states and territories, Australia recorded more than 70,000 locally acquired coronavirus infections and more than 60 deaths on Wednesday. After more than 70 deaths on Tuesday, the newest data puts today as the second deadliest day of the coronavirus outbreak in Australia. An overwhelming majority of Australians want the federal government to finance fast antigen tests for Covid-19, according to a poll released by Nine Entertainment publications on Wednesday.

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